On the last day of the legislative session, the Hawaii legislature passed a bill to create a civil-union status, under a suspension of the rules. On the last day for a decision, Tuesday, Gov. Linda Lingle vetoed that bill, pointing to the legislative shenanigans and the fact that the new status and is essentially identical to same-sex marriage. New reports indicate two of the three gubernatorial contenders support the veto and would prefer a citizen vote on the issue. The Democratic candidate supports the bill.
The civil-unions bill, HB 444, created the new status and made both same- and opposite-sex couples eligible to contract the status, which provides all benefits of marriage to participants. The ACLU has announced it will file a lawsuit alleging that the Hawaii constitution requires the state to provide the benefits of marriage to same-sex couples. The Vermont and Alaska high courts have previously issued rulings to this effect.